Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have been unable to agree on the appointment of new members to the seven-person Appellate Body (AB) in a timely fashion, given the recent expiration of two members’ terms and another member’s resignation. There has been no consensus to even begin a process to fill these posts, creating further problems for the selection and appointment of incoming Appellate Body Members (ABMs). As a result, the WTO faces mirror issues over the transition from “outgoing” to “incoming” ABMs, threatening its very functioning and effectiveness.
IIEL’s recently released Issue Brief, a product of discussions between Georgetown faculty, students and stakeholders, provides a solution to the problem without taking sides in the debate over whether the Appellate Body’s current practice of appointing hold-overs is or is not permissible under the current rules. It proposes a single amendment to the DSU that represents a compromise—limiting the use of hold-overs while creating incentives for the timely replacement of ABMs whose terms of office are coming to an end.